I've never written about Big Brother before, having not considered it as noteworthy as shows like The Amazing Race and Survivor. But I have watched every season and it can be intriguing at times, with some contestants fascinating to watch with their inflated egos and overblown personalities.
There's no question the strategy of the game is to form alliances and get through as many weeks without being nominated for eviction and a date with perennial host Julie Chen. Contestants are undercut and blindsided all the time, but never in the manner afforded Frank Eudy, who was evicted last night. It got me so incensed I felt compelled to set forth why I think the show has descended to its lowest depths.
The guy was nominated six times, every time it was possible to do so, and would have been nominated more times had he not won the Head of Household competition on three occasions.
His targeting initially was uncalled for, as he himself joked privately to his coach, former champion Mike "Boogie" Malin, that in the early days of the show he'd only won one competition. But like many such situations, nominating Frank became the thing to do, even after he made deals with oodles of fellow house guests to keep each other "safe" in the coming weeks.
First, he had a deal with Willie Hantz, brother of notorious Survivor contestant Russell Hantz (It may be time for CBS to put aside its love affair with the Hantz family, having also placed Russell's nephew in a subsequent Survivor season. They are a disgusting lot to watch, and not particularly entertaining). True to family form Willie nominated Frank, who looked a goner after the first week.
Frank won friends, though with his supportive comments on behalf of gay contestant Wil Heuser, whom Frank felt was unduly mocked by Willie. Frank was spared, then won his first Head of Household competition, a mental exercise. Expecting to be nominated, Willie went on a rampage, physically attacking Joe Arvin and was removed from the game.
Because Shane Meaney had voted to evict Frank, after Frank earlier had a talk with the guy and felt he could trust him, Frank nominated Shane. However, Shane is a physical guy and won the Power of Veto, removing himself from nomination.
Frank couldn't understand why there was a campaign to undercut him and made a deal with Shane to work together. Shane stuck to it and didn't nominate him when he won HOH the following week, but when he won Power of Veto he removed Ashley Iocco, whom he had nominated along with Joe, and sneakily back-doored Frank into nomination with a sure bet he'd be gone.
Only a change in the format saved Frank, when the other three returning player coaches, Dan, Britney Haynes and Janelle Pierzina voted to take part in the game and the nominations were expunged. Then, Danielle Murphree won HOH, true to form nominating Frank and also Wil. She then won the Power of Veto, but Mike "Boogie" in an effort to protect Frank convinced Britney, Shane, Danielle and Dan to join forces in a "Silent Six" partnership, with the result that Danielle vetoed Wil's nomination and blindsided three-time player Janelle, causing her eviction.
Okay, it's a dirty contest and sometimes fun to watch. Not to mention the fact Britney, Shane, Dan and Danielle conspired with Frank and Mike's teammate sweet innocent little Ian to form the "Quack Pack." What made this particularly venal is that Boogie and Frank had taken Ian under their wing, and in addition Boogie had won a contest, and with the suggestion of Frank he shared $3,000 of his winnings with Ian.
Yet Ian, sensing the group of Britney, Shane, Dan and Danielle would ultimately triumph over the smaller group led by Boogie, decided to sell-out and told his new "Quack Pack" alliance secrets and fed false strategy to Boogie and Frank. Plus, later on, when Boogie was on the chopping block with Frank, having been betrayed by Shane, late of the now-clearly defunct Silent Six, he thought Ian might be in danger and he implored Dan to leave Ian alone, not knowing Ian was prepared to vote to get rid of him. Is this any level of sportsmanship? At this point, it wasn't clear Ian was in any danger and to have suddenly jumped ship in spite of Frank and Boogie's kindness showed us this had nothing to do with strategy and that Ian is just a little creep.
Frank started flexing his muscles and won his second Power of Veto to save himself, but was incensed to see Ian needlessly voted to evict Boogie, because Boogie would have been evicted even without his vote. It was a cocky slap in the face. Ian even crowed about it during the videos displayed while Boogie sat with Julie, the kid so proud he'd tricked the master Boogie, who seemed oddly to enjoy the betrayal.
Ian clearly has no scruples. Up to that point he could have profited just as easily with his relationship with guys who'd demonstrated their loyalty and faith in him. Not to mention the jig was up and now Frank knew what Ian had done, but Ian was so full of himself he was convinced Frank was no match for him.
Especially since it turned out to be a double eviction night and Ian managed to win the HOH competition, convinced he could screw Frank. He couldn't get out of this one, could he? To make matters worse, he nominated his household crush, Ashley, who'd been so sweet to him but was straight that their relationship was platonic. Though he never admitted it, he was probably upset she was more enamored of the hunkier Frank.
But Ian didn't count on Frank pulling the Veto out of the hat again, and then he won HOH. Ian was now terrified.
Through it all, Frank had made deals with Britney twice, and twice in the diary room she revealed she would let him believe what he wanted and plotted to get him out. In fact, during the second such situation, when Frank nominated Dan and Danielle, because he was convinced Dan had turned Ian against him, she was determined to win the power of Veto so that Dan and Danielle would be off the block and their alliance would be safe.
But Jenn Arroyo won the Power of Veto, and Dan appeared doomed, but came up with a plan, convincing Frank to form an alliance with him by revealing Ian had been plotting all along against him in the "Quack Pack." I shouted at the TV, "No, Frank, don't do it," but Frank convinced Jenn to take Dan off the block and he put Britney up instead, and she was sent to the jury house, knowing Dan had betrayed her.
In fairness, Frank was between a rock and a hard place. He's a very smart guy, who demonstrated in winning a number of memory challenges that he's sharp, and he improved his athletic skills against Shane. Yes, he trusts people too much, that's for sure, and is clearly a bit naïve, but it's a testament to a man who's honorable and sticks to his word. He never went back on anyone after he'd made a deal, and, from his standpoint, whether it was Dan or Britney who stayed, would Frank have been better off?
As luck would have it, Ian won the next HOH and nominated Frank and Jenn, and this time Frank came in second and the Power of Veto was awarded to Dan. Still, Frank trusted him and urged him to use the POV to remove Jenn, who'd removed Dan the previous week, because it would otherwise reveal their alliance. Frank, thinking Dan and Danielle would vote for him with Jenn was genuinely shocked when the vote to evict him was 3-1. He was convinced that at worst it would be a tie and that perhaps Ian would vote to evict Joe, because Frank had given up his right to participate in the next HOH competition.
This is where I think Dan's arrogance is sure to trip him up, because while Ian sabotaged Boogie and Frank's game, Dan was an even greater bold-faced liar, pledging his fealty to Frank, while holding a bible, swearing on his wife's name and a neck chain given to him by his late grandfather. Indeed, considering Ian was going to vote Frank out, even in the event of a tie, Dan still could have voted to keep Frank. Why would Dan want to reveal to Frank, who would now have a vote on the jury that determined the winner of Big Brother, that he double-crossed him?
I felt great respect for Frank, after Julie told him he was evicted, when he got up, grabbed his bag and only hugged Jenn, ignoring the rest of the house guests. In the main, the evictees normally go through a faux ceremony of hugs and kisses, despite their enmity. But Frank would have none of it and he walked out of the house to cheers and applause.
Julie seemed particularly heartfelt in her interview with Frank about how he played so well against the obstacles and she seemed genuinely saddened and touched by what transpired. During the videos of those bidding farewell, Ian tried to make nice and Dan said he respected him and hoped there were "no hard feelings." When Julie asked Frank about that he said it wouldn't be the case.
When a game descends to such levels is it truly still a game? Dan is a teacher, supposedly a man of morals. Does he teach his football team to kick the opposing team in the balls? And Ian, the supposedly innocent kid who's loved the show since he was smaller, to have treated Boogie and Frank in the manner he did -- and for no practical reason, because why did he think he could trust Britney or Dan -- he's not someone I'd care to know.
If he wins it will only be if he's sitting next to Dan, who, if he'd played his cards right, would have kept his double dealings away from the jury's sight. He didn't and I hope it blows up in his face.
Meanwhile, Frank, you're a good guy in my book, and with that affable personality it wouldn't surprise me if someone in the media calls. You'll be the winner in the end.
Michael Russnow's website is ramproductionsinternational.com
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